“Film Tasting” celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of SU creatives

Celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of Syracuse University student filmmakers at a “Film Tasting” event to sample some of this season’s best student films and animations – from shorts to featurettes. The pop-up student film and animation showcase will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13 in Shemin Auditorium, Shaffer Art Building, and will feature works by VPA Transmedia students, with help from Newhouse and other program areas.

This fun “food and flicks” event is a stress break from finals, and is also an opportunity to sample work by innovative transmedia students who are on the path to becoming professional filmmakers and entrepreneurs.  Films selected for the screening are the work of advanced film and animation students who raised funds, assembled production crews, put out casting calls, and hired professional actors, managed all aspects of production and post-production, and created professional quality final products worthy of film festival submissions. Admission is free, but RSVPs are requested to launchpad@syr.edu

The “Film Tasting” is being produced by Broad Brothers, a Blackstone LaunchPad student venture. Broad Brothers Productions was founded by twin brothers, Aja and Kaelan Selbach-Broad, who are juniors in the VPA film program.  Broad Brothers launched at Syracuse University as a student venture, and also produced the recent Blackstone LaunchPad promo film.

Broad Brothers was recently profiled in Study Break for their filmmaking, including client corporate videos, concerts and festivals, music videos, and shorts.  They have shot such artists as The Chainsmokers and Marshmello.  Their work has been featured in a number of film events, and they intend to fully launch their production company upon graduation.

Blackstone LaunchPad hosts Syracuse qualifier for the Hult Prize competition, “The Nobel Prize” for student startups

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library will host a December 11 campus qualifier for the Hult Prize, the world’s largest student competition for the creation of new social businesses. Known as “The Nobel Prize for student startups,” the Hult Prize awards $1,000,000 in start-up funding to the team of students that develops the most innovative idea to solve one of the world’s toughest challenges.

In partnership with the United Nations, the Hult Prize hosts campus events around the world in search of the next game-changing start-up. The Hult Prize focuses on one grand challenge, inviting applicants to respond to that theme. This year’s challenge is “Harnessing the Power of Energy.”

The registration deadline for the December 11 qualifier, open to Syracuse University and SUNY ESF students, is December 4. The winner of the campus competition will advance to compete in 15 regional finals in March 2018.  One winning team from each host city will then move into an eight-week summer residency at the Hult Castle accelerator in the United Kingdom, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business.  A final round of competition will be hosted in September 2018 at the United Nations, where the winning team will be awarded the $1,000,000 prize.

Read more about the Syracuse competition and apply on-line here by December 4 »

Applicant teams will pitch their ideas on Monday, December 11 from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Bird Library. They will be judged by a panel of distinguished civic entrepreneurs on their innovative approach to building a scalable, sustainable social enterprise that harnesses the power of energy to transform the lives of 10 million people by 2025. This year’s challenge includes six core areas ripe for transformation through energy-powered innovation, including:

  • Connectivity
  • Mobility
  • Farming, food, and agriculture
  • Water collection, storage, and transport
  • Health and the human experience
  • Education

“Energy is the lifeline of humanity. When you harness the power of energy creatively, you can change the world,” notes the Hult Prize committee. “The world has enough latent capacity for energy-powered innovation to shift the trajectory of global development. This year’s six dimensions of energy affect all of humanity.”

“Solving the world’s most pressing challenges is not just the right thing to do, it is also good business,” said Ahmad Ashkar, CEO of Hult Prize, who conceived of the competition in 2009 as an enterprising MBA student at the Hult International Business School. Ashkar’s idea — to leverage the crowd to generate startup ideas from young people that will sustainably solve the world’s most critical social challenges, has grown the Hult Prize into the world’s biggest engine for the launch of for-good, for-profit student startups.

Funded by Bertil Hult, a Swedish billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist, the Hult family donates $1,000,000 in seed capital to help the winning team launch its social enterprise. The Hult Prize Foundation has been featured in a TIME Magazine Cover Story highlighting the “Top 5 Ideas Changing the World.”

This year’s challenge, coordinated by Kennedy Patlan, Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, is described in greater detail here. Applicants are strongly advised to download and read the complete challenge package to understand the parameters of the competition.

To sign-up for more information about the Hult campus competition and other upcoming opportunities, please e-mail LaunchPad@syr.edu. To learn more about the Hult Foundation and the Hult Prize Competition, visit www.hultprize.org.

SparkCharge shares top prize in FuzeHub 2017 Commercialization Competition

SparkCharge was among the five companies taking top prize in FuzeHub’s 2017 Commercialization Competition. A field of seventeen entrepreneurs from across New York State, including SparkCharge founder Josh Aviv, came together in the Capital Region In November to compete for the $250,000 in prize money.

Finalists covered a wide variety of industries, including Clean-Tech, IT, Semiconductor, Bio/Life Sciences, and Energy. Other companies taking home the $50,000 prize were Ferric Contrast: non-toxic MRI contrast agents (Buffalo); NanoHydroChem: proprietary nanomaterial capable of generating hydrogen gas from water on demand. (Buffalo); Potsdam Sensors: field-deployable IOT sensor for accurate sensing of airborne particles. (Potsdam); and Praxis Biotechnology: new rosacea cream that blocks a specific change that occurs in rosacea skin without affecting the rest of the body. (Albany).

FuzeHub is a nonprofit organization that assists small to medium manufacturing companies by matching them with technical and business resources. It is an Empire State Development-designated Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and works with innovation organizations to help ensure that New York State companies are competitive and receive world-class technical expertise.

Josh Aviv, co-founder and CEO of SparkCharge, won grand prize at the Blackstone/Techstars global venture pitch competition in New York City on October 18.  He was also the grand prizewinner in the 2017 New York State Business Plan Competition. He holds two degrees from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in information management from the School of Information Studies (2017) and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Maxwell School (2015).

Aviv received early and continued support from the faculty in the iSchool’s minor in Information Technology, Design, and Startups, and from the professional mentors in the Syracuse Student Sandbox. He has made full use of the services of the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library and now serves as entrepreneur in residence at the Couri Hatchery in the Falcone Center, Whitman School of Management. His research and development offices are located at the Syracuse Center of Excellence, where he is creating two Syracuse CoE Fellows positions for students who are interested in exploring renewable technologies and energy systems.

Learn more about the FuzeHub competition at:  fuzehub.com/competition.

Impact Prize winners announced

Kennedy Patlan and Gisella von Dran

A panel of area civic leaders this week announced the winners of the first Impact Prize competition at Syracuse University. Winners were selected for the most innovative and implementable ideas to help solve civic, environmental, economic, or other public challenges, as part of a campus-wide social entrepreneurship challenge. Selected from a field of 36 teams, the finalists competed November 14 in front of a live audience as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week at Syracuse University.

Tied for first place and each receiving a $2,000 team prize were participants in the recent Invention Accelerator at Syracuse University, Invent@SU:

  • In-Spire: Kayla Simon and Elizabeth Tarangelo (Engineering & Computer Science), for a wearable Albuterol inhaler for asthma patients who suffer from asthma attacks while on-the-go;
  • Fibrefree: Serena Omo-Lamai and Charles Keppler (Engineering & Computer Science), for a laundry ball that traps microfibers, preventing them from entering aquifers and the atmosphere.

Second place, receiving a $1,000 team prize was:

  • Food for Community: Samantha Guillaume and Patrick Carleton (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry), for a not-for-profit that transports unused food from local schools and takes it to local pantries.

Organized by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library, the $5,000 Impact Prize competition was supported through a personal gift to SU Libraries from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program, and former assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management.  Dr. von Dran also served as a judge and presented the awards.

The Impact Prize competition was managed by Kennedy Patlan ’18, a triple major in advertising in the Newhouse School, citizenship and civic engagement in the Maxwell School and women’s and gender studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. As the first Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, Patlan organized the competition, conducted outreach across campus, organized Impact Generator workshops, provided peer mentoring of the applicants, and supervised all event logistics.

The competition was open to Syracuse University students, as well as SUNY ESF students who are studying entrepreneurship at SU.

Other finalists competing in the November 14 finals included:

  • Biomass Combustion Process: team leader William Lee Mendes McKnight (Arts and Sciences), for a high efficiency biomass combustion process to power village-scale generators;
  • Comfeet: team leader Francis Marinez (Engineering & Computer Science), for eco-friendly, size-adjustable shoes for toddlers;
  • Doorway Energy: team leader Teodoro DeLelllis (Engineering & Computer Science), for a solution to capture energy coming from commercial doorways through wind turbine technology;
  • GreenStrip: Jose Javier Garcia Rovira (Whitman) for a product that enhances the planting process in infertile soils around the world;
  • Greenwood Investment Network: Asile Patin (Arts and Sciences), for a nonprofit to create an evergreen fund for local minority business owners to access seed funding in a collective, sustainable way;
  • Modoscript: team leader David Zuleta (Arts and Sciences), for a Pill-Safe Digital Health System to address overdosing and underdosing;
  • Native Women’s E-Mag: Michelle Schenandoah (Newhouse), for an interactive E-magazine and brand to serve as a national platform for Native women;
  • Spolitic: team leader Abigail Hamilton (Whitman), for an app that connects politically passionate people to engagement opportunities to effectively organize our generation’s movements;
  • Starfruit: team leader Nathan Elequin (Education), for an educational technology consulting company dedicated to matching schools with the instructional software best-suited to improve teachers’ experiences or their student’s engagement;
  • Wind Turbine Project: team leaderTyler Vartabedian (Engineering & Computer Science), for a highway-barrier mounted vertical axis wind turbine to provide clean energy.

Judges for the final round were:  Paul Brooks, LaunchNY Venture Development Organization; Eric Ennis, City of Syracuse Neighborhood and Business Development; Robert Herz, In-sourcing Community Incubator; Owen Kerney, City of Syracuse – Onondaga County Planning Agency; Joanne Lenweaver, WISE Women’s Business Center; Karen Livingston, NYS Small Business Development Center; and Caitlin Moriarty, The Tech Garden.

AJ Damiano scores another win with PowerSpike

Angelo (AJ) Damiano ’18, founder of student startup PowerSpike, won the $7,500 top prize in the U.S.-Western NY regionals of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA). The competition, held November 8 in Buffalo, was open to student entrepreneurs who actively run a business, are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree and generating revenue or investments. Damiano will now advance to the EO GSEA finals in Dallas, slated for February 2018.

Damiano is a senior in the Whitman School of Management and a member of the Blackstone LaunchPad at SU Libraries and the Couri Hatchery at the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship.

PowerSpike is an influencer marketing and analytics platform for Twitch.tv, connecting gaming influencers with brands and advertisers for paid promotions and sponsored content. PowerSpike enables streamers to monetize their audience and helps brands to connect with new customers on a platform that reaches over 100 million viewers each month. Damiano has grown his company, recently sealed major brand placement deals, and attracted outside seed investment. Damiano recently participated in TwitchCon2017 and BlizzCon, two of gaming’s biggest venues, growing his status as an industry influencer.

This EO GSEA win follows his recent participation in the global Blackstone LaunchPad/Techstars Training Camp in New York City, a highly competitive program for the top two student entrepreneurs selected from each of the 20 Blackstone LaunchPad programs across the U.S. and United Kingdom. This past April, Damiano also won the top prize in the Software/Information Technology division of the New York State Business Plan Competition. He is a winner of several Syracuse University competitions, including the Panasci Business Plan Competition, the RvD iPrize, and CompeteCNY.

EO GSEA is considered the premier global competition for student entrepreneurs who actively run a business.  With more than 1,700 competitors from over 30 countries, EO GSEA is an exclusive opportunity for student entrepreneurs to make connections, find resources, and grow their businesses.  It is supported by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a global business network of more than 12,000 leading entrepreneurs in 160 global chapters.

Founded in 1987 by a group of young entrepreneurs, EO enables business owners to learn from each other, leading to greater business success. EO offers resources in the form of global events, leadership development programs, peer-to-peer learning, an online entrepreneur forum, executive education opportunities, and connections to experts.